Friday, March 19, 2010

Archive: '27 Dresses'

Movie Review
27 Dresses (2008)

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. That's the story for Jane (Katherine Heigl), a good girl who is always watching out for those she cares about while never really caring for herself. She has been a devoted bridesmaid 27 times and has saved all of the shameful dresses packed away in her closet to prove it. And she just one day wishes that one of those special days will be her own. "27 Dresses" is the ultimate in romantic comedy cliches and predictability and yet, in spite of this and its insipid storyline, the movie works. And this is in no small part due to the presence of Katherine Heigl who holds her own for the second time after her success in "Knocked Up." Replace her with a lesser actress, and there would really be nothing worth seeing here.

Aside from basically having the part time job of planning weddings, Jane works as an assistant to an advertising executive named George (Edward Burns). She is secretly in love with him but never has the courage to tell him. And then there's her globe-trotting sister, Tess (Malin Akerman), who sluts around Europe but conveniently comes back to New York just in time to swoop up George. After an initial meeting that devastates Jane, things only get worse for her as the courtship between Tess and George escalates to a proposal, and in a sudden whirlwind, the two are engaged and Jane is left to plan their perfect wedding. While Jane goes along with this, at least she has her best friend Casey (Judy Greer) who doesn't mind tossing her a reality slap. Complicating things is Kevin (James Marsden), a cynic of a guy who musters up enough romanticism to write the tenderhearted "Commitments" column in the New York Journal. This leaves Jane wondering if he's really sincere or if he just comes up with a bunch of swooning crap to collect women.

It's hard to find any cliche that director Anne Fletcher and screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (who also wrote the edgier adaptation of "The Devil Wears Prada") didn't hit throughout the course of their movie. Plot entanglements include Tess lying to George and ensnaring Jane's ideal wedding and Kevin preparing a column about Jane as the ultimate bridesmaid without her knowledge. But in terms of the romance, it really boils down to this: the introduction, the banter, the growing on each other, the big argument, the resolve, and there you have it. Sorry if I spoiled it for you. Honestly, though, the target audience for a movie of this caliber isn't out for any originality. They're ready for the routine complications and the mushy gushy kiss at the end, and in terms of that, the movie delivers. All a movie like this really needs is two fine actors to convince us they're in love, and the casting here triumphs.

Katherine Heigl is simply the perfect woman lead for a romantic comedy. She's likable, relatable, pretty, and doesn't mind breaking down once or twice. She's just as appealing here as she was alongside Seth Rogen, and she understands a thing or two about comedic timing. She also has the uncanny ability to bring real emotion to a scene that would otherwise feel forced. Co-starring with her this time is James Marsden, who is, I must say, quite the charmer. The two of them have great, casual chemistry together, and while I may have been cringing for some good portions, it was this aspect of the movie that helps it to occasionally shine. While at the bar, the two of them have a little too much to drink and stand on top of a table together belting out "Bennie and the Jets," the only surprise in their romance.

"27 Dresses" shockingly doesn't suck even for a romantic comedy that doesn't stray from the formula, not even for a second. These filmmakers stay on the path so adamantly, that you would think they were afraid of something. It's baffling why a movie obviously marketed towards moviegoing couples wasn't held until a month later when the biggest date movies are to be released. It would've been a surefire hit. But anyway, I found it mildly enjoyable, in part thanks to Katherine Heigl, even if I knew exactly where the entire thing was headed.

1 comment:

  1. i was surprised that i actually didn't midn this chick flick. maybe because i can relate so much!